When to Get a Second Opinion

Posted by Cecil Horwitz



Receiving multiple perspectives can be useful in considering how varying medical decisions may affect daily life, in the present and in the future, and in helping decide on a course of treatment with the best outcome and fit for the individual.

Although it may seem disconcerting to question the authority or expertise of a medical professional, seeking a second (or third, or more) opinion is important when faced with major medical challenges where decisions can majorly impact daily life and health. Seeking a second opinion is especially important when one feels uncomfortable with the recommendations a doctor makes, particularly involving invasive testing or therapy.

Seeking another opinion may be warranted if:

– Diagnosis is unclear, you feel unsure, or you need more information on your options
– Treatment is risky and/or has permanent consequences
– There are less-invasive alternatives

Getting multiple opinions allows for the individual to gather as much information as possible, from varying perspectives, in order to make an educated, informed, and comfortable decision. The more information and resources one has access to, the more assistance and effective treatment one can receive.

Occasions in which to seek a second opinion:

– Surgery: It is a good idea to get another opinion when you are advised to have surgery. There may be other options that are less risky and invasive.
Pregnancy termination for fetal abnormality
Cortisone Shots: Other treatment options may be safer and more effective for pain management.
Long-Term Antibiotics: Antibiotics build up resistance, so getting a second opinion can help determine if they are necessary in the first place.
– Any treatment consisting mainly of branded (as opposed to generic) medications
– CT Scans: Although these can save lives, doses of radiation from receiving multiple scans may lead to problems, and CT scans of the head should be avoided altogether when possible.

It is important to remember that medical professionals are human beings capable of making mistakes and missing information, so listening to one’s own body and advocating for one’s own health interests is critical in looking out for one’s own health and wellness. Never hesitate in seeking multiple opinions when faced with making major medical choices, especially if one feels in their gut that they need to.
It can not be overstated that gathering info and educating your self in order to make an informed decision is the key to being your own best advocate and finding and sometimes fighting for the right resolution to your health issues. 

For more information, please feel free to contact us!